8 ways to shorten your job search

This article originally appeared on Recruiter.com, but I have since added two more ways to shorten your job search.

I’m not writing to advise you of the eight guaranteed ways to find work in less than three weeks. People who make a promise like this are raising your hopes and making a mockery of the career development field.

Job search

However, I will tell you how to make your job search shorter. By how much? That’s up to how dedicated you are to achieve this— and some timing.

I work at an urban career center, where I’ve helped hundreds of job seekers who’ve struggled with their job searches find rewarding careers. Some of them have struggled less than others, however.

Why? Because they followed some very simple procedures, are tenacious, and maintain hope.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask …

The first thing the successful job seeker realizes is that they must solicit help from others. As adults, we have this silly notion that we shouldn’t rely on others when we need help.

But psychologists assert that when people help others, it gives them a sense of power and makes them happier. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Going it alone will not shorten your job search; it mill make it longer if you don’t.

Asking for help doesn’t mean you approach people whom you think have connections and bluntly ask them if they know of any available jobs. This puts them on the spot, makes them feel uncomfortable, and will probably make them unwilling to help.

…But Help Yourself First

Before you seek the help of others, you need to keep the following in mind: You won’t be successful in gaining their help if you’re not willing to help yourself. To help yourself means demonstrating confidence and an upbeat attitude.

This will take emotional intelligence, which means you possess the “ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”

I’ll be the first to tell you that putting on a front is hard to do. I’ve also been out of work. I know that you may feel despondent or even depressed, but you can’t come across this way. It’s human nature to back people who are positive, not negative.

Help Others as Well

As Edythe Richards, a certified emotional intelligence practitioner, explains in one of her posts: “Empathy is your ability and willingness to take notice of and be sensitive toward the needs and feelings of others….

Job seekers with frequently engaged empathy are attuned to others, easily take others’ feelings into consideration, and have an accurate ‘emotional read’ on people.”

Also known as “paying it forward,” helping others before expecting help will create good karma. What goes around comes around; meaning you will get the help you need from another person. Just don’t expect reciprocity from the people you help, as they may not be able to offer you the same type of help.

Show Value

Of course, your résumé and LinkedIn profile need to be powerful. These documents should showcase your value through your relevant accomplishments. Remember, it’s not accomplishments you think employers want to see; it’s accomplishments that match the requirements you see in job posts that matter.

But a great résumé and LinkedIn profile are not enough. You’ll need to connect with quality people on LinkedIn and engage them in conversations that include your employment status.

I warn against mentioning your situation in your first message. Develop relationships with your new connections first. I recall a person asking to connect with me because he needs help in his job search. That’s a bit abrupt.

Connect With Others

Your marketing campaign will also involve employing your verbal communication skills, such as connecting with others, telephone correspondences, and the interview itself.

You notice I don’t use the word “networking.” That’s because when job seekers hear that word,they picture large groups gathered in churches or libraries. Get “networking” out of your vocabulary. Connecting can happen in other ways.

An effective way to connect with others is by engaging your former colleagues, people in your community—essentially everyone. Your superficial connections—those you meet once or twice—may even come through for you. Again, you must come across as confident; as someone that people will want to help.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Conduct your diligent research before attending an interview. By researching the position, company, and even the competition, you will be better prepared. And being prepared will give you more confidence.

I tell my job seekers that reading literature online isn’t enough. If they know someone who works at the company where they want to work, they should use said person for inside information.

Find out the smaller details of the position and company, such as responsibilities that weren’t mentioned and facts about the culture. Taking a deep dive like this will impress the interviewer/s.

Follow Up

The conclusion of your job search is the follow-up note you send employers thanking them for their time and mentioning interesting points made during the interview. Employers take note of those who don’t send thank-you notes. Don’t let them down.

Oh, and don’t send form notes; make each one unique for everyone who interviewed you. Interviewers don’t appreciate it when candidates don’t go the extra mile. Here is a post on what to include in your thank-you note.


Oh no, you’re probably thinking. You mean work for free? Yes, precisely. But let me be clear; you’ll volunteer for an organization that requires your expertise, not an animal shelter or the town’s soccer league.

The downside is you won’t get paid for your labor, but there is plenty of upside.

  1. Volunteering is a great way to network. You’ll be in the industry, where people for whom you volunteer might know of opportunities or, at least, people with whom you can speak.
  2. You can enhance the skills you have or even develop new ones. Let’s say you’re a web developer who needs to improve your Java skills, or you need experience in fundraising. What better way to gain these skills?
  3. You may even get hired by the organization. It’s happened with some of my customers. You never know.
  4. Some pundits believe that your chances of getting a job increase by more than 25 percent. Now if that ain’t a good enough reason, what is?
  5. You’ll feel more productive than if you’re sending your resume to companies who are receiving hundreds, if not thousands, resumes for one position.
  6. It’s a great way to cover a long gap on your résumé. A Forbes article gives this reason for the Long-Term Unemployed. I see listing this experience on your résumé beneficial for everyone.

As I said earlier, don’t fall for posts that claim to help you land a job in a certain number of days or weeks. Everyone is different. For some it may take longer than others. I do guarantee, however, that the harder and smarter you look, the shorter you search will be.

Photo: Flickr, JobMax

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